Costly coverage


Q: I am on regular Medicare and have maintained my BC/BS family coverage through FEHBP for a monthly cost of $510 or so.
Would I not be better off getting a Medicare supplement policy that would not cost anywhere near as much as my FEHBP premium? Do many federal retirees make this choice? I had thought it wise to maintain FEHBP, and will until my wife catches up with me and goes on Medicare, but due to these costs I wonder.

A: If I read you correctly, you are considering dropping FEHB coverage and buying supplemental Medicare coverage before your wife goes on Medicare. If so, I hope that she has health benefit coverage elsewhere, otherwise you’d be leaving her out in the cold. As for whether buying a supplemental policy would be a good option, you can’t rely on cost as the sole measure. You need to compare the coverage it would provide along with out-of-pocket costs. And if, and it’s a big if, you drop your FEHB coverage, you can’t re-enroll as a retiree.


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  1. No, I was going to hold on for 5 years for that very reason but when I am paying about $400/month for BC/BS and must pay $65 for a 2 ounce supply of a non-generic creme Acyclovir to treat cold sores I have to wonder what is the point. The insurance companies as we all know have prepared for any hint of health care reform even though so very little was actually enacted so they raised deductibles, co-pays, etc. The same drug by the way is over the counter in the rest of the world and cost less than $5.

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